10 Best Substitutes For Greek Yogurt

For many people, Greek yogurt is an absolute staple. Though it's not actually Greek in origin (it was just branded that way unassumingly after a Greek company – Fage – was the first to introduce this highly strained yogurt to the market, per Epicurious), still, in short order Greek yogurt has become an absolute "it" food and one that shows no signs of slowing down in popularity.

Whether you enhance it with fruit and sweeteners such as honey to craft a sweet breakfast parfait or dessert treat, or if you're using it to add a creamy, tangy quality to a dip or dish, this simple ingredient can work wonders. While any type of Greek yogurt is packed with protein (a great added bonus), the incredibly versatile plain flavor also has little added sugars and includes a light, naturally pleasant sweetness.

Yet, there are times when a dish calls for Greek yogurt and you've run out. If you don't have time to head to the store to buy a new container, or you simply don't feel like making the extra trip, luckily there are a number of great substitutes — all of which can add some of those tangy flavor notes and that creamy texture. As with any substitution, you'll need to consider your specific dish as well as any dietary restrictions to determine the best ingredient to swap in its place. If you happen to have one of these 10 items in your pantry or fridge, you're all set to get cooking and creating!

1. Sour Cream

Many people have swapped out a dollop of sour cream that typically accompanies dishes like tacos and quesadillas with Greek yogurt for a healthier dipping option, so it only makes sense that the substitution would work just as well in the opposite direction. 

Sour cream can be a great replacement for Greek yogurt, as it has a very similar texture, and also contains that desired element of tanginess. Sour cream is usually associated with more savory dishes, and it can be a great substitute in dressings and sauces. However, as many bakers know, sour cream can also be a stellar addition to your baked goods, as it can make them incredibly soft and moist. If you opt for a full-fat sour cream, it also has a higher fat content than Greek yogurt, which means it'll add even more richness to your dish. 

As a final bonus, sour cream is very easily found in grocery stores, and is a relatively common ingredient to have in your fridge, so there's a good chance you already have this one on hand when needed in a pinch. For the best results, you'll want to make an exact substitution — so, if that tasty cinnamon coffee cake calls for one cup of Greek yogurt, you can swap in one cup of sour cream instead.

2. Plain Yogurt

Plain, unsweetened yogurt naturally has a lot of similarities to Greek yogurt. Of course, Greek yogurt has a thicker consistency, and also has a bit more of those tangy flavor notes thanks to how it's prepared, which involves a lot of straining to remove whey and other liquids. Yet, even still regular yogurt makes a great substitute in a wide variety of dishes — from cakes and pancakes to dressings and sauces. In fact, the slightly more runny consistency of regular yogurt might actually be a positive if you're looking to craft something like a sauce, as you won't have to add as much additional liquid to thin out the mixture. 

This substitute can also be ideal for dishes where that tangy flavor element isn't desired in favor of something more neutral to allow your careful blend of spices to take center stage. Just always make sure that the yogurt you're using is unsweetened, otherwise the balance of flavors in your dish will be off. For the best results, apply a direct substitution — for every half-cup of Greek yogurt the recipe calls for, swap in a half-cup of regular unsweetened yogurt.

3. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt have many beneficial similarities. Both are packed with calcium, low in sugar, and high in protein — making them an excellent addition to any dish. Cottage cheese lacks a bit of that tang found in Greek yogurt, but it has a relatively neutral flavor, meaning it'll allow the other spices and seasonings in your dish to shine. And, for health-conscious cooks, an added bonus is that cottage cheese is absolutely packed with protein,  a mere one cup of 1% cottage cheese contains a whopping 28 grams, says Healthline

The one thing to consider when making this particular substitution is the texture. While Greek yogurt is creamy and smooth, cottage cheese has those little curds that give it a chunkier texture. If the texture doesn't matter in your dish, you can proceed with cooking it as normal. If you're really looking for that smooth, creamy feel, though, simply blend the cottage cheese to change the consistency. The suggestion for this substitution is to do a direct swap, using a cup of cottage cheese in place of a cup of Greek yogurt in the recipe you're whipping up.

4. Soft/Silken Tofu

Soft or silken tofu is the perfect substitute for those wanting a dairy-free alternative to Greek yogurt. While a go-to method of incorporating tofu into meals usually involves the extra firm variety for stir fries and grain bowls, silken tofu shouldn't be overlooked. For those that may not be familiar, this type has a much softer consistency, which means it'll fall apart if you try to slice it up. However, if you blend a package, it'll take on a smooth, pudding-like consistency that can be a fantastic swap for Greek yogurt. 

The one thing to note here is that tofu has a very neutral flavor, meaning it'll pretty much just take on whatever flavor and seasonings you're adding to the dish. So, if you're really looking to incorporate those tangy flavor notes of Greek yogurt, you may need to add in a bit of lemon juice or something else acidic. If it's just the creaminess you need from the Greek yogurt, blended soft tofu is great all on its own for this purpose. 

This is another ingredient that you can do a direct substitution of — so, use a cup of blended soft tofu for every cup of Greek yogurt called for in a recipe. And if you still have some tofu left in that block when your recipe is complete, toss some in a smoothie for a burst of protein.

5. Buttermilk

Buttermilk is beloved by bakers because of the slight tanginess it adds to recipes, and because of how it creates an absolutely mouthwateringly moist dessert. Given that Greek yogurt serves a similar purpose in many baked goods, buttermilk can be a great substitute for it. As an added bonus, buttermilk can help cakes and breads to rise, too.

The only thing to be aware of with this swap is obviously the difference in consistency. While Greek yogurt is quite thick, buttermilk has a very thin, runny consistency similar to, well, milk. To combat this, you'll want to use a bit less when swapping it in. So, if a recipe calls for a cup of Greek yogurt, you'll only want to add about 3/4-cup of buttermilk to ensure your batter doesn't turn into soup. Alternatively, if you really want to keep the original amount in because you think it will impact the dish's flavor, a tip from Taste of Home says to add in a bit of flour until you get the right consistency in your batter.

6. Cream Cheese

With its tangy flavor, thick consistency, and serious creaminess, there's no doubt that cream cheese is an ideal substitute for Greek yogurt. It's also readily available in just about every grocery store — and if you're a fan of a morning bagel with cream cheese, you might already have some of this ingredient in your fridge. 

While cream cheese has a slightly thicker consistency than Greek yogurt when it's cold, if you allow it to come back to room temperature, then you should have no issue incorporating it into your dish. The relatively mild taste means it could be substituted in sweet recipes such as baked goods as well as savory recipes including creamy pasta sauces

Given how commonly it's used in various decadent dips, cream cheese also makes an ideal swap for any of these types of recipes that call for Greek yogurt. For the best results, use a direct substitution: Instead of using a cup of Greek yogurt in that artichoke dip, go for a cup of cream cheese.

7. Avocado

Avocado is a great dairy-free substitute that's perfect for anyone that can't handle dairy or simply wants to cut down on it. As avocado lovers already know, this staple ingredient has a buttery, creamy texture that makes it a welcome addition to a wide variety of dishes. As a substitute, it's particularly good for things like sauces and dressings, however you shouldn't discount dessert recipes entirely. One of the most popular uses for avocado in baking is in creating rich and decadent — yet healthier — chocolate mousse and pudding. 

It also works really well when blended, making avocado the perfect swap for Greek yogurt when you want to add that creamy element to your morning smoothie without incorporating any dairy. The one downside is that avocado doesn't have the tangy profile found in Greek yogurt, but not to worry — a simple squeeze of lemon or lime juice can mimic that quality. For best results, given avocado's thick consistency when mashed, you can use this as a direct substitute. So, add in a cup of mashed avocado for every cup of Greek yogurt.

8. Mashed Bananas

Perhaps you want to go dairy-free, or maybe you simply want to add some natural sweetness to your dish — either way, mashed bananas can be a good substitute for Greek yogurt in certain dishes. Fans of healthy baking can tell you that substituting mashed bananas in a recipe is an ideal way to cut down on butter and oil while still keeping the recipe moist — the same applies to using it as a Greek yogurt substitute. Doing so will keep your coffee cake or bread loaf moist and tender. And the flavor is relatively subtle, although you may still get some of those banana notes peeking through. 

A good tip is to choose less ripe, yellow bananas if you want a milder flavor, as opposed to selecting the brown, mushy fruit that is prized for making banana bread. Another thing to note is that bananas lack the tangy quality of Greek yogurt, so you may want to incorporate a bit of acidity in the form of lemon juice when using this substitution. Additionally, bananas have natural sweetness that Greek yogurt doesn't totally have, so you may want to reduce the other added sugars in your recipe to compensate. For the best results, you can do a direct swap, trading in a half-cup of mashed or pureed bananas in place of a half-cup of Greek yogurt.

9. Coconut Cream

Coconut cream can be an absolutely decadent choice when you need a dairy-free swap for Greek yogurt. However, make sure you're not confusing coconut cream that comes in the can with coconut milk found in the carton — the latter is much thinner and more watery, and won't deliver the same results.

On the other hand, coconut cream is the thick, solid substance at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk — you can scoop it out easily to add to your recipe. One thing to be aware of though is that coconut cream has a much higher fat content than Greek yogurt (and more fat than many of the potential swaps listed above), so while you're transforming a recipe into a dairy-free dish with this pick, it isn't automatically making the dish healthier. 

It's also worth noting that, while coconut cream adds a richness and creaminess that can level up your meal, it does still contain some coconut flavor. So you might want to consider the overall taste profile of your dish and think of whether a whisper of coconut will complement it or clash with it. For the best results, do a direct swap, using a cup of coconut cream where you would have used a cup of Greek yogurt.

10. Mayonnaise

While some may think of mayo as just a condiment, this go-to staple can also be a great addition to many recipes, including serving as a good substitute for Greek yogurt since it has a similar consistency and adds that same creaminess to a dish. It even has a tangy quality, which means the flavor notes will be quite similar. And, thanks to the fact that it's crafted from eggs and oil, substituting mayonnaise will certainly add a bit of richness to your recipe, making it even more decadent. 

Mayonnaise is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used to whip up everything from aioli dipping sauce to a coating for delicate fish. For the best results, you can swap in equal amounts — in a dip recipe that calls for one cup of Greek yogurt, you'd use one cup of mayonnaise instead. And if you're worried about using mayonnaise in baking, don't be — even Portillo's uses a full cup of it to make their beloved chocolate cake.